Sunday, November 15, 2009

Seasons in Plaza Midwood

I'm excited about a new art project I have in the works - "Seasons in Plaza Midwood". I had the idea last winter when we had a beautiful snow here. Before the snow started to melt, I took a bunch of pictures... The ones that turned out the best were from the end of the street with the quaint little Historic District sign is in the forefront. So, I thought - if it looks this great in the winter, why not take a similar pic for every season and frame it! So, almost a year later, I've finally gotten around to taking the fall pictures. I still need the spring and summer, but I think this is a good start. Check it out:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spice Down My Kitchen

The kitchen in this house is exactly as you would expect from any 1930's cottage - small, cramped, and closed in. So, when we first moved in, the drab old cabinets and grandma wallpaper had to be spiced up big time. We wanted color to make it feel new, bright, fun - and to convince us to hang out in there long enough to cook! So, we went bold and painted the cabinets two tones of lime green, and an orange sherbert color for the walls. While it was definitely bold and spicy like we wanted, we got sick of it pretty quickly. So, 2 years later, we decided to try again.... This time, we wanted to spice it down :)

Here are a couple "in progress" pictures of Alvin and I working like crazy!

"Spicing down" our kitchen didn't mean we wanted it to be boring and drab again. We wanted a mix of classic, fresh, and modern. So by painting virtually everything including the countertops and floors and replacing all the hardware, I think we acheived what we were looking for!

The things I like the most are:
(1) The fake beadboard on the cabinet doors. Thanks to my good friend, Susan (her blog), for this awesome idea!!! It's just paintable wallpaper in a beadboard pattern that is actually raised so that it looks and feels almost like the real thing. It added so much character to the space!
(2) The backsplash really gave us that modern look. It was so easy and cheap, just plastic tiles that you cut to size and then glue on.
(3) The countertops were the toughest part, but made a huge difference. Who knew you could paint over laminate - another one of Susan's ideas, thanks Susan!! We painted them with a textured Ralph Lauren paint to look kind of like concrete. Then we put on a layer of resin (equal to 60 coats of polyurathane) which gave it the smooth, shiny look that makes a great working surface and is easy to clean.

And, the big reveal....

Monday, November 2, 2009

Screened Porch Makeover

If you've ever ventured down Central Ave past my neighborhood (Plaza Midwood), you know that it turns into a series of Chinese/Vietnamese/Mexican strip malls. It's not very pretty to look at, but Alvin and I have found that this area actually has a lot to offer for Charlotte cuisine. We've recently started to try out some of these places and have been pleasantly surprised with the food. What does this have to do with my screened porch makeover, you ask? Well, after trying a Vietnamese place called Bhen Thahn , which had some delicious pho soup and yummy coconut curry, I convinced Alvin to take a quick detour on the way home. So we stopped at one of my favorite spots - Restore. After all, it's the type of place where you never know what you will find. So if you are near by, its always good to stop and take a quick look.

It turned out to be a great choice because I found the white wicker set that I have been looking for all summer to complete my screened porch makeover! I have bought several other pieces this summer that help give this room a "cottagey" feel - (1) the 2 shabby white rocking chairs that I posted about earlier, (2) the chair that I "rehabbed" in my last post, (3) a small pine table that folds down on each side - another Restore find, (4) a white painted chair that I found at a nearby yard sale, (5) a black rattan trunk from the same yard sale, (6) a rug from FLOR which I originally intended for my bedroom, and (7) the Black and White sofa cushion which I found at the Midtown Marshall's.

The white wicker set had the shabby look I was going for with some nice vintage details that made it unique. After Alvin helped me with some rearranging to fit in all the pieces, it came together perfectly! One thing that I really love is the old glass door that we hung over the wicker sofa. It came from an old hutch that was left outside when we moved in. I'd like to paint it one day to make it look more like artwork. We strategically placed the plants to try and get as much privacy as possible, and I planted some creeping fig against the outside wall that I am hoping will crawl up the wall and eventually add a ton of privacy too.

I still have to finish the room with some pillows, curtains, and accessories - which is the most fun part - so I will post one final picture once it's complete. Alvin and I have already enjoyed this room by sitting out there with a bottle of wine on Halloween night as we waited for the tricker treaters. We also had some yummy pumpkin pancakes and hot coffee out there the next morning. Next we'll have to get some take out from our new favorite Vietnamese place and enjoy it on the porch :)